Scenery above Taos Ski Valley
Taos  is a town in New Mexico in the United States, about a two hours' drive from Santa Fe. It is noted for its art colony, skiing, and Taos Pueblo, a photogenic American Indian community that is open to visitors under controlled conditions. These attractions have made it a popular travel destination in recent years.
First things first: "Taos" rhymes with "house" or "mouse," as pronounced in "American" English.
The town of Taos itself is one of several places with "Taos" in their name, all part of the region and contributors to its attractiveness but differing in just what the attractions are. Ranchos de Taos is a small village south of Taos proper that is notable for a spectacularly scenic and much-photographed church. Taos Pueblo is just north of town, an ancient American Indian community (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) in a particularly beautiful setting. Taos Ski Valley, also known as Twining, is about 20 miles (30 km) north of town in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Finally, the Taos Box is a section of the nearby Rio Grande known for its superb whitewater. Before setting out for an attraction, know exactly which Taos you're visiting; attractions outside Taos proper but in Ranchos de Taos, Taos Pueblo or Taos Ski Valley are covered below with those for the town, while more distant attractions are under Get out.
As of fall 2005, no commercial airlines serve Taos. However, it has had intermittent service by commuter lines flying from Albuquerque in the past. The Albuquerque Sunport, three hours' driving time distant, is the nearest airport with extensive commercial air service.
Taos' position on the west slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains restricts road access somewhat, as there are few passes through the mountains and the ones that exist may be closed in the winter due to snow. Coming from Denver and other points north, there are two options: either follow Interstate Highway 25 to Raton and then US Highway 64 over Palo Flechado Pass and into Taos, or follow Colorado state road 159 south to the New Mexico border, at which point it becomes New Mexico state road 552 and continues to Taos.
There are also two routes into Taos from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The most direct route follows US Highway 285 through Pojoaque to Española, then New Mexico state road 68 along the banks of the Rio Grande to Taos. There are a number of scenic viewpoints on this road; it's worth stopping to see if river runners are on the Rio, particularly during high water (spring) at which time this stretch of river is one of the finest whitewater experiences in the continental United States. The slower and higher, but even more scenic, "High Road to Taos" diverges at Pojoaque and first follows New Mexico 503 to Chimayo, then New Mexico 76 (becomes 75) to Peñasco and New Mexico 518 to outlying Ranchos de Taos and finally Taos itself. This is a beautiful drive in the spring and summer; the Sangre de Cristos are snow-capped until June or so, while later in the summer, the thunderstorms that build over the mountains provide a different kind of elemental beauty.
There is limited Greyhound service to Santa Fe and to points in southern Colorado. The Town of Taos operates the Chili Line local bus system including ski season service to Taos Ski Valley. Faust Transportation (575-758-3410) provides local taxi, regional and airport shuttle, and charter bus service to the North Central NM area. Twin Hearts Express Shuttle Co. (575-751-1201) also provides shuttle services to and from the Taos area.
Taos is easy to drive around in, seeing as there is really only one main road stretching from the beginning of town to the end. the downtown area is great for walking, with many restaurants, shops, and galleries to visit.
Taos Trolley Tours runs bus tours that reach most of the main attractions. The trolley-style bus won't move any more quickly through traffic than your car will, but using it will at least save you some aggravation behind the wheel, and reduce the congestion slightly for the other drivers. Call +1 575 751-0366 for details; usually closed during the winter.
Taos does have one form of public transportation, and that's the Chile Line shuttle service, +1 575 751-4459, . There's a fixed-route service with designated stops along the main street of town (Paseo del Pueblo) and a shuttle service from many of the hotels in Taos to the Taos Ski Valley.
Fechin House and Museum at the Fechin Institute
- The main plaza in Taos is a great place for people-watching. Pull up a bench and watch the world go by. The Taos Chamber of Commerce presents Taos Plaza Live every Thursday evening. Details at www.taosplazalive.com.
- A number of the houses near the plaza that belonged to founders of the art colony or other significant personages have been turned into museums and galleries.
- Fechin Institute, on Paseo del Pueblo just north of the plaza, +1 575 758-2690. Tu-Su, 10AM-5PM. Located in the former home of Russian born artist Nicolai Fechin, the Taos Art Museum has works from famous Taos artists. $8
- Kit Carson Home and Museum, on Kit Carson Road 1/2 block east of the plaza, +1 575 758-4945. Daily, 10AM-5PM. The house of Kit Carson, with artifacts from his life and frontier life in Taos.
- Governor Bent Home, on Bent Street a couple of blocks north of the plaza. The former home of Governor Bent, the first Governor of New Mexico when it was territorial United States, who was killed here in a raid by angry residents who objected to American rule.
- Blumenschein Home & Museum, on Ledoux Street a few blocks southwest of the plaza, 1 575 758-0505. Daily, 9AM-5PM. The former home of Ernest L. Blumenschein, who became captivated by the scenery in Taos when he and a friend were traveling through and a wagon accident forced them to stay in Taos. Blumenschein told other artists of the beautiful scenery and returned to Taos, where he helped create the Taos Art Colony. $5
- Harwood Museum of Art, on Ledoux Street a few blocks southwest of the plaza, +1 575 758-9826. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A vast collection from Taos artists dating from the 18th to the 20th century. $7
- Taos Pueblo  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its history, culture, and beauty. The pueblo is open to visitors daily (fee) from 8 a.m. until 4:30, although it closes occasionally for religious ceremonies, including an extended closure in early spring, usually around Easter. There is an additional fee for photography, etc. You can drive to the pueblo if you don't mind the frustration of navigating through downtown Taos traffic, but Taos Trolley Tours visits it on one of their regular tours and may be a less aggravating way of getting there. Note that there's now a casino at the pueblo, if you go for that sort of thing; this one is notable for being entirely non-smoking.
- The Kit Carson Park & Cemetery, a couple of blocks north of the Plaza on Paseo del Pueblo, is a lovely, shaded public park with fields, trails, a playground, and a cemetery with the graves of Kit Carson, his family, and other notable Taos citizens.
- Hacienda de los Martinez, on Ranchitos Road a few miles southwest of the plaza, +1 575 758-0505. Daily, 9AM-5PM. One of the few existing Spanish Colonial haciendas, or "Great House", you take a tour of this wonderful old place and get to see what life was like here in the early 19th century. $5
- Millicent Rogers Museum, on Millicent Rogers Road off of Paseo del Pueblo north of town, +1 575 758-2462. Daily, 10AM-5PM (closed on Mondays November-March). Famed artist Millicent Rogers lived here in Taos, and the museum continues her legacy. Lots of jewelry, and other Southwestern art like Native American pottery and a room for traditional Hispanic art. $10
- The Church of San Francisco de Asis, in Ranchos de Taos, is an incredibly photogenic example of the churches founded in New Mexico during the Spanish mission period. It's a short drive from downtown Taos on New Mexico 68 and close enough to the highway that you won't have to spend more than 15 minutes getting to and from it if you want to settle for a quick visit. For serious photography and painting, you may have to join a crowd of other aspiring artists. Tours of the interior are available except around times of worship services.
The "Taos Hum"
Taos is a well-known center for "spiritual" activities of various kinds, some of them relating to the curious and possibly mythical phenomenon of the Taos Hum. Many visitors claim to be able to hear a persistent, low rumbling or buzzing sound not attributable to the traffic of town or other obvious sources. Possible explanations have been posed ranging from the pedestrian (static discharges in the mountains, power lines that are heard but not seen) to the outlandish (secret government facilities nearby, some manner of UFO nexus). Sober-sided skeptics insist that there isn't really a Hum at all and that its perception results from visitors from noisier lands being unused to the general solitude and silence of the rural area. If you want to try to hear the Hum, get out of the downtown area, which is too congested to hear a "hum" of anything but traffic, and spend some time in the forest, particularly early in the morning or at night if you're equipped for it.
- Ski. Taos Ski Valley  is a major downhill ski locale, usually with the best snow in New Mexico if not the entire Southwest. The slopes usually open on Thanksgiving weekend and close in early April, although early season snow can be sparse and spring conditions slushy. This is a challenging hill, and beginners may feel more comfortable on one of the nearby areas listed under "Get out," but the expert skier can have a fantastic time here. One caution: there is Nordic (cross-country) skiing up-valley from the downhill area, but the valley is prone to avalanches, and Nordic skiers have died there. If the locals warn you against skiing (downhill or Nordic) outside the safe areas due to avalanche hazard, take them seriously.
- There are a number of fine hikes in the mountains after the skiing ends and the snow melts, with trailheads at Taos Ski Valley and elsewhere. Wheeler Peak, the highest summit in New Mexico at 13,161', is on the ridge opposite the main ski runs and is a popular hiking destination. Do not underestimate this mountain. In addition to the avalanche hazard during the winter, bad weather can strike at any time of the year and turn what is normally a hands-in-the-pockets walk into a life-threatening, and sometimes -ending, experience.
- The Taos Box offers superb river running on the Rio Grande during the spring and summer. Several outfitters and guide companies operate out of Taos, and there are others based in small towns between Taos and Española. Some with acceptable credentials are:
- Cottam's Rio Grande River Trips, +1 800 322-8267, 
- Far Flung Adventures, +1 800 359-2627,  -- also runs trips on the Rio Chama and Colorado's Arkansas River
- Los Rios River Runners, +1 800 544-1181
- Native Sons Adventures, +1 800 753-7559, 
- Most trips on the Rio Grande take a full day, with some outfitters offering overnight outings that extend beyond the Taos Box. Pickup/dropoff, gear selection, etc., all vary according to the outfitter and trip; contact the outfitter directly to make arrangements. Reservations are a "must" for most trips.
- Enchanted Circle Self Guided Drive Tour. Many visitors to Taos drive the Enchanted Circle. From Taos, drive North on NM 522 to Questa. Then East to Red River, Eagle Nest, and Angel Fire. Then West on US 64 back to Taos. That is the short version. The most visited site on that tour is the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire. An exeptional side trip out of Questa is the Wild and Scenic Rivers area of the Rio Grande Gorge for sightseeing and hiking both. The Enchanted Circle is anywhere from a 2.5 hour straight drive to an all day trip with lots of stops.
- Ski lessons are available at Taos Ski Valley.
- The Taos School of Music  is a well-regarded summer program for the aspiring (age 18 and up) professional musician. The focus is on chamber music, with a very favorable student/faculty ratio and performance opportunities. A concert series involving significant chamber ensembles is part of the program. Admission into the program is highly competitive.
- Taos Pueblo, like other New Mexico pueblos, is known for American Indian arts and crafts. Its pottery differs considerably in appearance from that of other pueblos owing to differences in the clay of the region. Good Taos pottery has a unique "sparkle" caused by tiny flecks of mica. Many shops in town carry this pottery, along with jewelry and other folk art from pueblos along the Rio Grande, but it's worth your time to look for pottery and jewelry at the pueblo itself.
- More traditional "Anglo" (and Hispanic) art is available from all manner of galleries in the downtown area, as well as at gift shops associated with most of the museums. The places on the Plaza itself, unfortunately, tend toward tacky and schlocky, but you don't have to get far off the Plaza to get very good material. The Taos Gallery Association hosts a web site with info on most of the more reputable galleries. Be warned: some of the work at these galleries is seriously expensive (5 figures), but you get what you pay for.
- If you want to update your ski equipment, many shops at Taos Ski Valley and in Taos itself will be happy to help you empty your bank account on the latest and greatest skis, boots, etc.
- Most shopping on the plaza closes down from 5:00-6:00PM. During slow periods (such as in May, which is after ski season and before major summer travel season), some establishments go on extended breaks.
A tip: Many restaurants in Taos double as art galleries/outlets. You won't find any of the really good stuff there (unless it's art gallery first, restaurant second), but the prices on the workaday material are competitive with the galleries, and you'll have both a more interesting dining experience and an opportunity to browse or even buy the art without feeling guilty about not going for the big-ticket items. In the following, "Budget" restaurants have entrees up to about $10 (exclusive of drinks, desserts and tips), "Mid-range" between $10 and $25, and "Splurge" greater than $25. There are many more restaurants in Taos than shown here, some of them quite good; add your favorite.
- Graham's Grill, 106 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (First block North of historic Taos Plaza), ☎ 575-751-1350. Lunch & dinner. Creative foods for good prices with friendly service in a fun environment. mid range.
- Five Star burgers, 1032 Paseo del Pueblo Sur (About a mile South of historic Taos Plaza), ☎ 575-758-8484, . Grilled snadwiches and panninis, fresh salads, sides, desserts, beer & wine. mid range.
- Alley Cantina, 121 Teresina Lane, +1 575 758-2121, . Right near the plaza, as much bar as restaurant. "Delicious fish and chips, margaritas" according to some reviewers; barely edible tourist fare, according to others. Try it and offer an opinion. Food 7 days, 11:30AM-11PM; drinks until 1AM (midnight Sundays).
- El Taoseño Cafe and Lounge, 819 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 575 758-4142. More of a local hangout than a tourist place, being well south of the center of town. Acceptable New Mexican fare, with some "American" items. Open M-Thurs 6:30AM-9PM; Fri-Sat 6:30AM-10PM; Su 6:30AM-2PM.
- Michael's Kitchen, 304C Paseo del Pueblo Norte, +1 575 758-4178. A long-time local favorite, casual and busy. Great for breakfast, which is served all day. The New Mexican lunches are variable. Also has a nice bakery. Hours seem to vary; currently (October 2007) open 7 days 7AM-2:30PM, but closed on major holidays.
- Taos Pizza Outback, 712 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, +1 575 758-3112. M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. Locals are divided about this pizzeria, some proclaiming it the best pizza in town, others sniffing that it doesn't serve "New York style" pizzas. Chacun à son gout.
- The Bean, in two locations: 900 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (several blocks north of the Plaza) and 1033 Paseo del Pueblo Sur (on the way to Ranchos de Taos). +1 575 758-5123. Coffee shops popular with the locals but rather far from the tourist area. Breakfast 7 days, 7AM-2PM; lunch 7 days, 11 AM-2PM (? -- their literature is murky as to closing time, which is not unusual in Taos).
- Bent St. Deli & Cafe, +1 575 758-5787. Creative cuisine heated patio dining breakfast, lunch, dinner. "European-style," beautiful patio dining and yes, it rocks. Excellent menu selections, wonderful sandwiches, accommodating and gracious waitstaff. Licensed, with a good selection of beers. A local favorite, popular with visitors and regulars alike. Great for people-watching. On the pricey side of "budget".
- Antonio's, 4167 SR 68 (in Ranchos de Taos), +1 575 758-9889, . M-Sa 11AM-2PM, 5PM-9PM. Combines well with a trip to see the church in Ranchos de Taos (see above under "See"). The menu combines "New Mexican" with "old" Mexican.
- Bravo! is closed as of mid August. Future status unknown, 1353-A Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 575 758-8100, . American food well south of downtown; too far from the Plaza to be tourist-friendly, but locals rave about the salad bar; soups are also excellent. Large beer selection, managed jointly with an on-site package store. M-Sa 11AM-8:45PM, closed Sundays.
- Dragonfly Cafe and Bakery, 402 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, +1 575 737-5859, . Eclectic menu, with a fine Saturday/Sunday brunch that would be outstanding but for the road noise (most tables are outdoors and Paseo del Pueblo is incredibly busy on weekends). If you can stand the racket, give it a try. 7AM-3PM daily; dinner (hours appear to vary) F-Su.
- Ginza, 321 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 575 758-7645. Chinese and Japanese, with an extensive sushi selection. Locals consider this the best of a generally mediocre bunch of Oriental restaurants. Lunch buffet M-F 11:30AM-2PM; regular menu MF 11:30AM-9PM, Sa-Su 5PM-9PM.
- Guadalajara Grill, 1384 Paseo del Pueblo Sur and 822 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (south and north of downtown, respectively), ☎ +1 575 751-0063 and +1 575 737-0816. lunch and dinner seven days. Order at the counter, which will give you an uncomfortable feeling that you're about to consume fast food, but the meal brought to your table will dispel any such concerns. Mexican/New Mexican, with some excellent seafood dishes; the Camaron a la Diabla (shrimp in a very spicy red sauce) is recommended. $7-20 for dinner.
- La Folie, 107-B Juan Largo Lane (just off the Plaza), +1 575 751-7549, . Relatively inexpensive, classic French cuisine, in a site shared with the chocolatier Xocoatl . Open for all three meals (reservations recommended for dinner), hours unclear.
- Ogelvie's Bar and Grill1031 E. Plaza, --1+ 575 758-8866. Not a well-rated restaurant, but it does offer a fine view of the central plaza, and serves drinks.
- Orlando's New Mexican Cafe, 1114 Don Juan Valdez Lane, +1 575 751-1450. Lunch 10:30AM-3PM, dinner 5PM-9PM, both 7 days. Locals disagree on where in town you can get the best standard New Mexican cuisine, but this one is always in the discussion. North of the center of town, and not a convenient walk from the Plaza.
- Pizanos, 23 Highway 150 (Taos Ski Valley Road next to KTAOS), +1 575 776-1050, . Serves New York style pizza, pasta, sandwiches, appetizers, such as Blue Corn Calamari and Fish & Chips, and delicious salads. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days. Beautiful views from the patio!
Many of the better restaurants in Taos decline to give "closing" hours for dinner, opting instead to stop serving when they feel like it. Practically speaking, "closing" usually works out to something like 9PM M-Th, 9:30 or 10 on Fridays and Saturdays. If you're anticipating a late dinner, it's well to call for information and make reservations.
- Doc Martin's, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (at the Historic Taos Inn, see below), +1 505 758-2233, . Breakfast 7:30 - 11:00AM, lunch 11:30AM - 2:30PM, dinner 5:30PM - "closing." Weekend brunch 7:30AM - 2:30PM. Most dinner entrees range in price from about $20, lunch $10-15. exclusive Chef Zippy White, selections from the spectacular wine list of 400. Excellent seasonal menu additions and desserts. American cuisine with a Southwest twist; breakfasts are also creative. Renown for chile rellenos appetizer. Recently the Inn added a garden for fresh and organic ingredients.
- Lambert's of Taos, 309 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 575 758-1009. An old standby with mainly American cuisine. 7 days, dinner only (5:30PM until "closing," with cocktails starting at 5); reservations suggested.
- Stakeout Grill and Bar, Stakeout Drive (9 miles south of town off SR 68), +1 575 758-2042, . Steak and more steak, with nice views toward the Taos Gorge, particularly at sunset. 7 days, dinner only (5PM until "closing").
- El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa, 317 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, New Mexico 87571, +1 800 828-TAOS, , A resort with a luxurious restaurant & bar (and other typical spa/resort/hotel amenities - see below).
- Adobe Bar, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (at the Historic Taos Inn, see below), +1 505 758-2233, ext. 191, . Bills itself as "The Living Room of Taos," and with good reason; passersby wander into this comfortable watering hole (half in the hotel's lobby, half on the sidewalk) as though it's home away from home. Live entertainment W, F-Su; open mike on most Mondays. Called the "IT" place by NY Times, award-winning magarita list, award-winning wine list from Wine Spectator Magazine
- Alley Cantina (see above under "Eat") often has country/western music and dancing.
- Eske's Brewpub and Eatery, 106 Des Georges Lane (just southeast of Plaza), +1 575 758-1517, . Offers "guest beers" from other microbreweries as well as their own selection, including "Green Chile Beer". Also acceptable meals (generally "American"). Open 7 days, 11:30AM-10:30PM.
- Tim's Stray Dog Cantina, Taos Ski Valley, +1 575 776-2894, . One of several watering holes at Taos Ski Valley, open for much of the year beyond ski season. Food is nothing to write home about, but the raucous apres-ski atmosphere persists into the rest of the year and provides a pleasant environment for relaxing after a hike into the mountains. 7 days, 11AM-9PM for lunch and dinner (Budget class); closing time for the bar seems to vary.
There are many hotels and B&Bs in this area, owing to the thriving tourist trade, and many of them are quite good yet not on this list; if you've stayed at a notable one, please add it, with comments.
Budget lodging in Taos can be a somewhat dicey proposition, and some hotels previously listed in this article are currently getting extremely negative reviews. If you're really on a budget, one of the national chains may be the way to go, at the expense of "local color."
- Super 8 Motel Taos, 1347 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 575 758-1088, . Rooms from $75. A typical Super 8, generic rather than colorful, but OK for a night's sleep. South of the downtown area and a bit too far to talk, but satisfactory restaurants are nearby.
- Taos Valley RV & Camping Park on Estes Es Road, off of Paseo del Pueblo (Highway 68), +1 575 758-4469. Friendly place, nicely landscaped with privacy fences and shelters at most of the tent sites.
- Don Fernando de Taos Hotel and Suites, 1005 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 800 759-2736, . Rooms from $99. Comfortable "Taos-style" and convenient, with several restaurants nearby despite its location south of the main tourist areas. A minor down side: Access to some rooms can be exposed and slippery during periods of bad winter weather. Don't let that stop you from staying there, but if your mobility is impaired, tell the helpful staff when you make your reservations.
- Best Western Kachina Lodge, 413 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, +1 575 758-2275, , is another satisfactory hotel in the downtown area. A tip: try to avoid rooms 283 through 286, which have problems with noise from the busy road in front of the hotel; the other rooms there are considerably quieter. How many small-town roadside hotels/motor lodges have you stayed in that have a Frederic Remington statue out front? This one does.
- Historic Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, +1 888 518-8267, . Rooms mostly from $120, and has occasional discounts. Features a 1950s-style neon sign out front; this is a very comfortable and nicely renovated hotel right in the middle of the tourist attractions, a great base camp for exploring the town. It has been rated in Travel America as one of the Top 10 Romantic Inns. The restaurant (Doc Martin's) and bar (Adobe Bar) are popular with visitors and locals alike.
Video:Taos Inn Video
- Hotel La Fonda, 108 South Plaza Taos,, +1 575 758-2211, . This hotel is on the plaza and has Joseph's Table on site which provides fine dining in the heart of Taos. This boutique hotel has history, art, and beautiful suites.
- Indian Hills Inn, Taos Plaza, 233 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, +1 575 758-4293, . Rooms from $69. Most reasonably priced downtown hotel located just 2 blocks South of historic Taos Plaza. Best choice is deluxe single king bed room which opens to over an acre of grassy, tall treed, courtyard. Family 2 queen rooms have fresh baths, new furniture. One of few properties that offers multi night discounts and weekly rates. Complimentary continental breakfast & WIFI for Guests. All 27" TVs. Chili Line town bus stops about 100 feet from front door of Inn. Ski season shuttle stops at hotel lobby. Airport shuttles (Faust & Twin Hearts will pickup and drop off at hotel lobby.
- Lodging at Taos Ski Valley value-per-dollar is respective to the accommodation's proximity to the ski runs, but Alpine Village Suites, +1 575 576-2666, , is right at the foot of the runs, is reasonably priced, has large and comfortable rooms, and stays open in the summer -- great staff!
- Taos Territorial, 114 Padre Martinez Ln,, +1-877-588-8267, . Located just one block off the Taos Plaza, this historic compound has been elegantly and artistically restored as luxury vacation lodging in the center of town. The half-acre compound consists of the Taos Territorial, the Chicken Coop and the Historic Wagner A and Wagner B Casita's, hand painted by local legendary artist Jim Wagner. Rooms from $100
- Casa de las Chimeneas, 405 Cordoba Rd (southwest of the center of town), +1 575 758-4777, is perhaps the best -- and most expensive -- of a number of B&Bs in the region. Non-smoking rooms only, 2 night minimum.
- El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa, 317 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, New Mexico 87571, +1 800 828-TAOS, , A resort with luxurious themed suites, a spa, a restaurant & bar, meeting space, and wedding facilities.
There is free Internet access at some sites around town, but most (supplied by laplaza.org) are nominally for town residents. Public wireless access for travelers is reported to exist at Taos Municipal Airport. Most major hotels offer wide-band services.
Sustaining Cultures, 110 & 114 Doña Luz, , which includes a metaphysical bookstore and a "natural" (not vegetarian) cafe, offers free Internet access on 2 in-house Mac PCs (as well as free wireless in the store).
The areas of and near Taos of most interest to the traveler generally have little crime, although the potential for petty theft from unlocked cars always exists, particularly in remote areas (e.g. at trailheads in the national forest). The main concerns are weather and road hazards. Winters can be harsh, particularly at higher elevations, and the wise motorist uses snow tires and has chains or 4 wheel drive available from November through March. Keeping warm clothing and an emergency kit in the car during this time is a good idea. Heavy snow creates hazards for outdoor recreation as well; use extreme caution in the mountains, as avalanche conditions are frequent. During the summer a different hazard appears: lightning. The Sangre de Cristos generate thunderstorms that produce frequent cloud-to-ground strikes. If you go hiking in the high country during summer, make sure you're off the high summits by 1 p.m. at the latest, and keep an eye out for earlier-than-normal electrical activity.
Another contributor to safety concerns on the roadways is the unfortunate but undeniable fact that northern New Mexico has severe problems with drunk driving. Taos has less problems itself with this than some nearby areas, but vigilance on the highways is still a good idea, particularly after dark and on the highways into and outside the town.
- Spirits of Beauty Salon, 223 Paseo del Pueblo, +1 575 758-1178. Haircut, $32.
- Carson National Forest offers all manner of hiking, backpacking and horseback riding opportunities. Three wilderness areas are within a short distance of Taos.
- The Sangre de Cristo Mountains contain part of the national forest and much else, and extend south to Santa Fe and north into Colorado. There are major ski areas at Angel Fire  and Red River  on the eastern side of the range not far from Taos, as well as the smaller and more rustic Sipapu  to the south. All are in general somewhat easier skiing than the notoriously "challenging" Taos Ski Valley, and see more beginners (Sipapu specifically bills itself as "family-oriented"). Red River also has a developed commercial site for Nordic (cross-country) skiing on groomed trails. The drives to these areas are scenic even if you don't ski.
- Picuris Pueblo , south of Taos on the west side, is one of the highest of the American Indian pueblos of New Mexico and can be toured during daylight hours. There is a small tribal museum. As at most Native American pueblos open to the public, a small fee is charged for photography, sketching, etc.
- The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on US Highway 64 (about 10 miles west of town) spans the Rio Grande a dizzying 650 feet above the river. There are observation platforms at each end of the bridge. Definitely not for the acrophobic.
- If you happen to be a fan of author D. H. Lawrence (one of the contributors to the Taos mystique in the early 20th century), his ashes are preserved at a curious "shrine" at the Kiowa Ranch, a property of the University of New Mexico about 20 miles from town via SR 522. It's open for visits during daylight hours.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!